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The rebel side of skateboarding seems to be ruining the experience for everyone eager to use Malibu’s new skate park.
As Malibu Surfside News first told you on July 11, the city that evening issued an immediate closure of the week-old facility along with the adjacent Malibu Bluffs Park citing “current COVID-19 conditions and to protect the health and safety of visitors and city staff.”
As we’ve also reported, the temporary skate park was a popular spot even before its official opening July 3, drawing skaters willing to scale the chain-link fencing for a rebel ride.
Those antics led to a closure, with warning signs hung from the fencing and heavy metal chains draped across the skating surfaces to prevent anyone from using them.
Opening day came around attracting happy skaters, including pro-with-Malibu-roots Tom Schaar, and the park’s been a bustling combination of reservation and walk-up use since.
But trouble was brewing in ’bu Town.
“Visitors have not been complying with the COVID-19 regulations,” Reva Feldman, Malibu city manager, told me.
That led to the latest closure, this time including Bluffs Park, announced by city officials in a 7:15 p.m. tweet.
Feldman provided me these additional details of what drove the decision: “Skaters are not following the limit of people allowed in the skate park (12 max) and are not leaving when asked by city staff.”
“Parents are refusing to wear masks and continue to congregate,” she added.
As for Bluffs Park: “We keep getting large groups of people playing sports on the fields and we have been having to (call) the (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) multiple times every day to try and enforce the rules.”
Data from the county Public Health Department today showed more than 3,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 countywide in the previous 24 hours , for a total of 133,549; one more in Malibu, for a total of 62.
Deaths related to the virus total 3,809 countywide, two in Malibu.
It’s amid a rising trend in cases that city officials took action to curb the spread.
I went by the skate park Sunday and found the gate locked and the chains out again, rendering the facility unusable even by wannabe Dogtowners and Z-Boys.
Feldman’s sentiments are echoed by city Parks and Recreation Commission member Joshua Spiegel. Responding to our July 11 Twitter report of the closures, he said of the skate park: “It closed because many people did not respect the rules of the pandemic.”
“I’d say I’m bummed but not surprised.”
Spiegel added that he’s been “begging” parents to counsel their kids on the importance of following the rules.
I found at the adjacent Bluffs Park plenty of parent types breaking the rules, crossing the caution tape to enter just like on any Sunday.
Some were not wearing masks.
That’s no way to teach children how to act. But, given the state of COVID-19 cases in Malibu and the rest of Los Angeles County, it’s the best way to ensure the parks will not open again anytime soon.
I asked Feldman whether a reopening date was in sight.
“Not at this time,” she said.
Scott Steepleton is editor of Malibu Surfside News. You can reach him here.